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some shape

by Cobb

Columbia # A6066 49444 --Jockers brothers--one-step Violin and piano duet -undated--Note--This is a 2-sided 12 inch record with the exact same label on both sides.I believe that one side or the other was labeled incorrectly-- I think that one of there tunes is something else. I do not know which side is the "same shape" side nor do i know what the mislabeled side is supposed to be.


Reviewer: NoSpillBlood - - April 21, 2013
Subject: Utterly unique material.
Now all we have to do is post-process it so it is more comfortably listenable -- less squawk.

Reviewer: Andrew E Barrett - - April 8, 2013
Subject: What a terrific record!
Dear brrc,

Thank you SO MUCH for posting this fantastic recording for everybody to hear!

The performance by Albert and Monroe Jockers (violin and piano) is truly a five-star vaudeville / dance ragtime performance and fantastically exciting!

However, I sadly must only give this four stars (out of five) due to your (well-intentioned, but misguided) use of sound cleanup software, which makes this recording sound unnatural, metallic, and underwater to my ears.

I wish you had just straight-dubbed it, scratches and all, or perhaps used a simple equalizer to eliminate the "wolf notes" in the midrange (caused by the shape of the recording horn), rather than this software. Oh well, luckily the piano and violin still come through!

I hope to post these recordings again myself, once I purchase my own copy of this great disc.

Regardless, I shall help you out here with the information on your recording, courtesy of the Online 78 RPM Discographical Project:

The first track here, matrix 49402, is a three-tune medley starting with "Mama's Blues" and "After Tonight", two 1917 songs, the first co-written by James P. Johnson and William H. Farrell, and the second written and composed by Farrell. Both were published by the major New York publisher F. B. Haviland. I believe the first was one of Mr. Johnson's earliest published compositions.

The third tune in the medley is "Then You're Dancing An American Rag", written by Mort Greene (words) and composed by Bob Ward (music), and also published by Haviland, but this time in 1916.

The official title for this side, on the original Columbia label, is:

Mama's Blues, introducing
(1) After To-night;
(2) Then You're Dancing an American Rag
(Johnson and Farrell; (1) Farrell; (2) Ward).

I really think Mr. Jockers' up-tempo blues ragtime piano playing (with crush chords, blues bass, etc.) is hot and stylistically appropriate here for 1918, and compares favorably with the work of Pete Wendling of the same period.

"Mama's Blues"/"After Tonight"/"When You're Dancing An American Rag", Columbia matrix 49402, was recorded May 1st, 1918, in New York.


The flip side of your record, matrix 49444, is indeed "Some Shape", a rag one-step written by George L. Cobb, and published by Walter Jacobs (a major Boston publisher) in 1917.
This matrix was recorded on June 1st, 1918 (one month after the other side, also in New York.

Mr. Cobb's piece is already inventive with a lot of syncopation (of the slow-moving one-step variety).

The Jockers Brothers really outdo themselves on the repeat of this piece, to fill out the extra playing time on this 12" disc.

Without rhythmically sagging or losing the fantastic drive and forward motion in the least, the two gentlemen subtly push the beat even further, and get even hotter, at the very end, by ragging an already ragged melody!

The extra syncopation added by both violin and piano gives an incredible extra hotness and spirited drive to this already hot recording!

What Monroe Jockers does on the piano is nothing short of incredible and compares very favorably with the work Frank E. Banta would be doing just a few short years later (at this time in Mr. Banta's recording career, he was still growing into this kind of playing).

He is really improvising a very fine and rare kind of ragtime at the very end!

What Al Jockers does on the violin is no less incredible. While keeping a sweet, genteel, legato, but still hip and tasteful feel throughout, he never loses the momentum of the piece, and by the very end, he, too, is also playing a true ragtime violin!


This recording is so rhythmically compelling that I _need_ to go out and learn to do the one-step so that I may one-step all around the living room to it, partner or no!

Just check out the published piano solo sheet music (or even the full orchestration) to Mr. Cobb's piece, and you will see (or rather, NOT see, since it won't be written there!) just how much additional musical material they are adding and improvising besides what is already there!

Truly, this kind of late ragtime, dance, and vaudeville type performing style (also sometimes found on other dance and/or vaudeville-artist recordings from the period, such as those by Bernie & Baker, or Joseph C. Smith's Orchestra) is a very important and under-acknowledged thread in the many musical influences leading into jazz, not to mention a stellar example of late popular ragtime performance.

Thanks again for posting this. I can't wait until all three dozen or so Jockers Brothers recordings are eventually available!

Andrew E. Barrett
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